Sunday, August 11, 2013

Coping with the Stress of Change

There's a cartoon of a dog that pulls and pulls at a leash tied to a stake, trying to break away.  He wants to do more, explore more, venture farther afield. Or so he would have you believe.  Suddenly,the straining and pulling causes the leash to break and the dog is free. Guess what the dog does?  He grabs the ripped end of the leash, runs back to the stake and ties it securely to the stake.  Then the dog returns to pulling and barking and straining at the leash. Do you know anyone like that dog?

Looking for Meaning in the Midst of Change 

If your life has taken an unexpected detour that has rocked your world and left you struggling to make meaning of your situation, take comfort in the fact that there are others who have experienced similar life events and who can provide guidance along the way.  Everyone handles difficulties differently but the one universal factor that I find in those who are resilent to change and tragedy is that they find meaning in the midst of the pain.  When  I found myself drowning in the midst of numerous family difficulties in recent years, an insightful friend said to me, "Maybe this happened to free you to do something different with your life that would be meaningful in a bigger way."  At the time, I felt misunderstood but after some thinking about my situation, I knew she was right.  I was still sacrificing my time and energy to a family that had outgrown  that type of relationship.  It took a major upheaval to restructure my thinking.  It was time for a new, more mature approach that allowed me to develop interests and talents outside the famly group.  My life had taken an unexpected detour and I could either fight the changes and try desperately to return to the past, or I could look for the opportunity in the midst of change.  I could enjoy the new roadway and look for new vistas.

Asking the Right Question 

When faced with unexpected change, tragedy even, most of us tend to ask the question, "Why me?"  "Why did this have to happen?"  What if there is another more important question that we need to ask in order to discover the answer to the first question?  What if we need to ask ourselves, "What's the opportunity in this?"  Sometimes in the midst of discovering the answer to the last question we learn the answer to the first one. 

When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.  Vicktor  E. Frankl

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  1. Change is inevitable. Lynne, you give such great encouragement here - to look at change not as loss but as opportunity to grow. Exactly!

  2. Good insight into a problem we all must face. Death, taxes, and change are all inevitable.